European Data Retention: terror against terrorism

14 December 2005

European Data Retention: terror against terrorism

SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer today took part in the debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg over data retention. In Mr Meijer's view, proposals on this issue are poorly thought-out, unnecessary and demagogic.

Erik Meijer“Few people in Europe expected a measure to be introduced that was anything like the Directive on Data Retention forced through under the British Presidency,“ said Mr Meijer. “In the name of surveillance of terrorism and the struggle against crime, all telephone and Internet use by members of the public will soon be kept on record for many years. This represents a blatant infringement of privacy and creates great legal insecurity and uncertainty. Who will have access to these data? To what use will they be put and by whom? These matters are poorly regulated in the proposed text.“

“Moreover,” Mr Meijer continued, “telecom firms will not be forbidden to use the data for commercial purposes. On the other hand it is by no means clear that the compulsory gathering of such information will be of any help in the pursuit of terrorists and criminals. While the directive itself applies to the whole of the European Union, the definition of 'serious crime' is left to the member states to determine. It is also not clear who is going to pay for the gigantic databases which will be needed. The directive is not only unnecessary but has been, as is now so often the case, dealt with by the Council and the Parliament with indecent haste. The Parliament's rapporteur has been sidelined. All of the guarantees built into the revised text by amendments from the Civil Liberties Committee were thrown out.

“Once again we see how poorly armed are our democratic institutions in the face of the sort of demagogy which governments use to play on people's anxieties. In the guise of fighting terrorism Fortress Europe is increasingly becoming a police state.”

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